Written on the Wind

This film was really enjoyable. I was ridiculously tired on the particular Friday when we viewed this movie, but it was able to hold my interest and keep me awake. I would have to say the factor that stood out most in this movie was the acting. It was very over-the-top and melodramatic. Especially the acting of Dorothy Malone as Marylee Hadley. She made it feel like a soap opera that you watch on your couch on Sundays, but a lot more fun to watch!

Some of the first things I noticed in the beginning of the film, was the population sign that the camera focused on which read Hadley, Population: 24,684. The person driving the car (who turned out to be Kyle Hadley) was drinking and driving.  I also noticed that the word Hadley was all over the town. When the drunk guy walked in to his house, there were leaves blowing all around inside the house which I found strange, but I figured it was a reference to the title of the movie. The drunk man walks upstairs and passes out and his wife does not seem to appreciate it. Most of this scene is repeated later in the movie and at that point, it makes sense.

The next scene shows a female in an office and focuses on a magazine cover on which the date reads Oct 24, 1955. Hadley Oil Company. This seemed a little strange to me because I didn’t think oil companies had their own magazines. However, I figured this was just another reference to how important the term Hadley was. A man then enters the scene, who I would later find out is Mitch Wayne. The female is Lucy. They have a brief conversation, and it’s clear that Mitch is interested in Lucy. However, shortly after they begin talking, Kyle Hadley enters the room and steals Lucy away. They are then shown in a car, sitting in the backseat having a conversation while who I’m assuming is Mr. Hadley’s personal driver escorts them to their destination, which is unknown at the time. I noticed that the shots kept cutting from Medium Shots to Close Ups.  I believe they got closer up when Hadley was speaking, probably to signify his power and importance. Next, they are in a restaurant where Mitch joins them and they are all sipping champagne. The scene cuts to a black screen then instantly flashes back to them drinking champagne more, to show that they have been drinking for a while. The scenes cut a lot in this film.

Anyway, it is evident that Kyle Hadley is trying his hardest to woo Lucy by showing off how rich and powerful he is. Mitch truly likes Lucy though, and its sad to see her falling for Hadley’s tricks. Once again, they are in a car going to an unknown destination and the camera angles are changing constantly in the car ride.  Next thing we know, Hadley and Lucy are boarding a private jet. They ditched Mitch at the restaurant – Hadley told him to go buy some cigarettes and then got in the car without him. A very rude thing to do to your best friend, but at the time I had no idea that the relationship between the two men was anything other than professional. But Mitch knew where they were headed, and beat them to the private jet. Very funny. Shortly after this we learn that the two men have been friends since the first grade.  You can definitely get a sense of competition between the two men.

Anyway, things start moving rather fast from here. After only knowing her for such a brief period of time, Kyle Hadley takes Lucy to a room in Miami Beach full of fancy clothes and jewelry, explaining to her that everything belongs to her now. This made her uneasy, I suppose because she isn’t a “golddigger” and doesn’t want to seem like she is to Mitch, everyone else, and even herself. She was rather unimpressed by the riches Kyle was offering to her. In the morning, Kyle is shocked to find that Lucy is nowhere to be found. He goes to look for her at the airport, and finds her there where he proffesses his love for her and asks her to marry him. She accepts. She is taken aback, however, when she discovers a gun underneath Kyle’s pillow. Very dramatic music plays in the background. This makes her think that she doesn’t know her husband as well as she thought she did. After meeting Kyle’s dad, she learns that Kyle has a reputation of being a drunk. She approaches Kyle with her qualms, and he quits drinking and throws his pistol into the ocean to prove he can change for her.

I just realized I haven’t taken much time to elaborate on Marylee. The problem child. The wild one. The troublemaker. A promiscous girl, hellbent on making Mitch hers and ruining Lucy’s life in the process. She fails at both endeavors. She doesn’t fail however, at making her father go crazy. When she is brought home by the police one night  after being busted at a motel with the gas station attendant doing, well you know… it is the icing on the cake of troubles her father is experiencing. This obviously doesn’t phase her however, seeing as she retreats immediately back to her room and blasts music and dances around her room. While she does this, her father is walking up the stairs towards her room and the vibrations from her dancing and loud music cause her father to lose grip of the banister and send him tumbling down many stairs, killing him. This was a ridiculously dramatic scene, then again this whole movie is melodramatic. However, the importance behind this scene was that when Marylee’s father died Lucy and Mitch were the ones who noticed and took care of him. Marylee stayed in her room clueless, and Kyle was out getting drunk. Lucy and Kyle were both directly and indirectly the cause behind their father’s death. Mitch was closer to the Hadley’s father than the Hadleys were. He was living there for his whole life, his father sent him to live with them when he was very young. His father was a poor man, who spent his time hunting. The Hadleys were wealthy businesspeople.


Back to the story – A year passes, and Kyle keeps his promises, staying sober and faithful. However, another problem in the relationship arises – it becomes evident that Kyle is incapable of having children. He is not infertile, but just has a weakness. Upon hearing this news, Kyle begins drinking again and changes completely. Marylee, his sister whom is in love with Mitch, plays the part of a conniving instigator and does all she can to convince Kyle that Lucy and Mitch are having an affair. Kyle believes this because Lucy is pregnant – and it is his child, since hes not infertile… his problem has obviously gone away. However, he has been avoiding the doctor and doesn’t know that his problem is gone.  Kyle hits Lucy however, and causes her to have a miscarriage, then comes home in a drunken state one night threatening to kill Mitch. He goes for the gun in the drawer in his father’s study, but is surprised to find it is not there. Mitch had hidden it earlier, thankfully. After some prying however, Kyle discovers the gun and he fumbles around with it, meaning to shoot Mitch, but ends up shooting and killing himself. Marylee, being the bitch that she is, threatens to tell the cops that Mitch shot Kyle. She says, if he doesn’t marry her, she will say he  killed Kyle. She wasn’t lying. She begins to tell the judge and jury this in court when Mitch is put on trial. Eventually, she comes around and tells the truth though. The movie ends with Mitch and Lucy driving away from the Hadley estate, symbolizing the end of a chapter in their lives, and emphasizing that Marylee is really alone now.

This film definitely held my attention. In fact, I liked it so much that I watched it at home a few times (the whole thing is on youtube!). I did like the style of the filming, and the vibrant colors made it unlike any movie we’ve seen in class before. Although the movie was very entertaining, I wouldn’t classify it as a good movie. Its one of those guilty pleasure types of movies. Definitely worth watching.


*The reason this is a review of an older film posted late is because it was a draft I had in here and forgot to publish.

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1 Comment so far

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